How to Adjust Your Chacos for a Comfortable Fit

Chaco has earned a reputation for durability and quality that makes them one of the most sought-after brands on the current market. But do they really fit as well as the die-hards claim? And don’t you need to adjust Chacos in order to ensure that proper fit?

For the uninitiated, Chacos are a brand of footwear geared specifically toward outdoor use. While the company manufactures several different shoe types, the name has become virtually synonymous with sandal, thanks to the overwhelming popularity of this line.

Chaco offers a line of sandals with adjustable Z-shaped straps, giving them a distinctive appearance and a reliable fit. While comfort is the primary goal for most footwear, it’s particularly important when it comes to the delicate subject of hiking sandals. That’s why it’s vital to learn how to adjust Chacos to make sure the cleverly designed straps won’t cause chafing or discomfort.

In this guide, we’ll teach you the ins and outs of Chaco tightening, including the best way to loosen Chacos when the fit is too constricting. When you’ve finished, you should have learned everything there is to know about adjusting Chaco sandals for the ideal fit.

How to Adjust Your Chaco Sandals: Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Adjust Your Chacos for a Comfortable Fit

In this section, we’ll fill you in on how to loosen and tighten Chacos for the ideal fit.

The sandals are available in two basic styles: with a toe loop or without. We’ll start with the simpler no-loop version, then move on to the business of loosening and tightening Chacos that include a toe strap.

Chaco Adjustments for Styles Without the Toe Loop

How To Tighten Chacos Without the Toe Loop

1. Take hold of the top webbing on the strap that’s closest to your big toe.
2. Pull the strap until it fits snugly around your pinky toe and around the top of your foot.
3. Next, take hold of the strap that feeds into the buckle, pulling on the piece that’s nearest to the inside of your foot until the fit is snug yet comfortable.
4. Tighten the second strap by pulling on the piece that feeds through the buckle.

How To Loosen Chacos Without the Toe Loop

1. Loosen the strap around your ankles by pulling on the buckle.
2. Pull the strap that’s nearest to your toes from the outside of your foot towards the instep.
3. Take hold of the strap that runs from your pinky toe back to your heel, pulling on the end that’s closest to your toes.
4. Once the Chacos loosen completely, you can put them on to adjust the fit.

Check out this video from Chacos on adjusting your sandals without a toe strap:

Chaco Sandals without Loop - Women
Chaco Sandals without Loop - Men

Chaco Women's Zcloud Sandal

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Chaco Men's Z1 Classic Sandal, Bluff Hunter

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Chaco Adjustments for Styles with a Toe Strap

Chaco strap adjustment isn’t any more complicated when there’s a toe loop involved—it merely adds another step to the process.

How To Tighten Chacos With a Toe Strap

1. Take hold of the strap that hugs your big toe, pulling on the end closest to the ball of your foot. This will tighten the section that runs along the inside of your foot from your pinky toe.
2. Next, grasp the end of the strap that runs on a diagonal just below your toes, pulling from the end by your big toe.
3. Pull on the strap that feeds into the buckle, tightening the strap around the base of your toes.
4. Pull on the section of the strap that runs through the buckle (the “tail”) until the sandal fits snugly.

How To Loosen Chacos With a Toe Strap

1. Fully loosen the straps by pulling on the buckle.
2. Pull on the end near the outside of your foot to loosen the top strap.
3. Pull the end of the toe strap that separates your big toe from the rest.
4. To loosen the strap that runs along the inside of your foot from the pinky toe, pull on the section closest to your toes.
5. When the Chacos loosen completely, put on the sandals to adjust the fit.

Note: Chaco adjustment follows the same template even if the sandals have double (or triple) straps. For Chaco double strand adjustment, simply gather up both sections of the straps at once and pull on them as if they were a single strap.

Check out this video from Chaco on how to adjust your sandals with a toe strap:

Chaco Sandals with Toe Loop - Women
Chaco Sandals with Toe Loop - Men

Chaco Women's Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal

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Chaco Men's Z2 Classic Sport Sandal

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Everything You Need To Know About Chacos Sandals

How to Adjust Your Chacos for a Comfortable Fit

What is so great about Chacos?

The company founder sought to create a sandal that could be worn with optimal comfort both in and out of water. As a whitewater rafting guide, he understood the importance of quality footwear that stays in place during vigorous water activities. That’s what led him to create a sandal with the ability to mold itself perfectly to the wearer’s foot.

How do Chaco sandals fit?

Adjustable straps allow the classic Chaco sandal to adapt its fit so that it suits the foot shape of the wearer in question. Unlike some sandals, which don’t allow for much variety in the context of the shoe size, you can adjust Chacos so that they won’t fit anyone else quite as well.

Are all Chacos adjustable?

Not exactly. As we noted above, Chaco offers shoes in a variety of styles, not just sandals. Flip flops, hiking boots, sneakers, slip-ons, dress shoes–all of these can be found bearing the Chaco label.

However, sandals are the company’s flagship offering, so that’s what most people think of when they hear the name. Since the sandals are noted for their adjustable straps, it’s natural to assume that “all” Chacos are adjustable.

How long do Chacos take to break in?

Even high-quality footwear needs to be broken in if you want to avoid blisters, and Chacos are no exception. Once you’ve learned everything you need to know about tightening Chacos so that they fit better, it’s time to start the breaking-in process.

Ideally, you should break in a pair of Chacos over a two-week period by wearing them for a few hours at a time. The process can be shortened to a week if you wear them all day, every day, but we don’t recommend it. The sandals have firm soles and high arches, both of which can cause soreness and aches before they’re properly broken in. Try to purchase your new Chacos two or three weeks before you intend to wear them on the trail.

Can you cut the toe strap of Chacos?

People with low arches may be prone to what’s known in the industry as “dragging Chaco tail,” a phenomenon that occurs when Chacos tighten their straps. If the straps are drawn too tightly, the excess material will drag on the ground, which makes it difficult to walk.

So, can you cut the toe strap to rid yourself of the dragging Chaco tail? The company doesn’t recommend it, claiming that the strap won’t pose a tripping hazard in any case. They even go so far as to void the warranty if the strap is altered in any way. Fortunately, the company offers a strap shortening service through their “Re-Chaco” department, which is a good alternative.

That said, if you insist on cutting the strap, try to remove as little material as possible, following along one of the original seams to make the cut less noticeable.

Are Chacos worth the money?

There’s no question about it: Chacos aren’t cheap. However, thanks to the “Re-Chaco” option, which works to keep your Chaco sandals on your feet and on the trail for as long as possible, the shoes are a good investment all around.

The Bottom Line

So, at the end of the day, are Chacos worth the money?

Because they’re built to last and can be easily adjusted to shape the curve of your foot, we think the answer is yes. Chaco strap adjustment is a fairly straightforward process, and one that will soon become as familiar as the act of tying your shoes.

Happy trails!

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